Ana Sortun, James Beard-Awarded Chef and Wine Director Theresa Paopao, of famed Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, are spicing up the suburbs! We have learned that the cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean
Ana Sortun, James Beard-Awarded Chef and Wine Director Theresa Paopao, of famed Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, are spicing up the suburbs!
We have learned that the cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East feels rich and full of flavor because of the artful use of spices and herbs.
Understanding spices as a food and how to cook with them can help transform something ordinary into something extraordinary! Wine often showcases aromas of herbs and spices and can similarly add a special element to a dish when it’s treated like an ingredient.
Oleana Wine Director, Theresa Paopao will go over the basics of wine tasting and demonstrate how the herb and spice characteristics of wine can compliment a dish.
Oleana Executive chef Ana Sortun will discuss blending, storing and sourcing spices and share a few blends that she can’t live without. Recipes Include: Scallops, Citrus, Ana Spice; Roasted Carrot Soup, Moroccan Spices; Chicken Thighs, Tahini, Dried Fruit, Pistachio; Za’atar Bread
Why you should be attending this amazing event :
Fluent in French before 20, Sortun moved to Paris, attending La Varenne École de Cuisine and worked as an apprentice. Sortun credits her travels abroad as a major influence in her cooking. She apprenticed at the two-star Michelin rated Neichel Restaurant in Barcelona, Spain, with time spent in top kitchens in Italy, Greece, Lebanon and Turkey. Her travels to Turkey once or twice a year since 1999 continue to invigorate her work.
In the early 1990s, Sortun opened Moncef Medeb’s Aigo Bistro in Concord, Massachusetts. Stints at 8 Holyoke and Casablanca in Harvard Square, and a slew of national press attention soon followed. When Sortun opened Oleana in 2001, she began to pave the road to mainstream for Middle Eastern cuisine. She quickly drew raves for her creative combination of farm-fresh ingredients and eastern Mediterranean spice blends. The New York Times described her food as “rustic-traditional and deeply inventive”.
Sortun received the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef, Northeast” award in 2005. And her cookbook, Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, was published in 2006 and nominated for “Best International Cookbook” by the James Beard Foundation. Perhaps more pivotally, 2006 also brought the addition of Siena Farms, owned and farmed by Sortun’s husband, Chris Kurth. Named for their daughter, the farm provides Sortun’s restaurants with fresh, organic produce.
In the summer of 2008, Sortun and Pastry Chef Maura Kilpatrick opened Sofra, a Middle Eastern café and bakery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their cookbook, Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery was published in October, 2016. And in 2013, Sortun partnered with long time chef de cusine, Cassie Piuma to open Sarma in Somerville, modeled after a Turkish meyhane or meze restaurant.
A 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 James Beard “Outstanding Chef” semi-finalist, among her many accomplishments, solidifies her as a leading chef, and, as Mimi Sheraton said in her memoirs, one of the “best creative fusion practitioners” in the country.
Ana Sortun graduated from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine de Paris and opened her restaurant, Oleana, in 2001, immediately drawing rave reviews from the New York Times. She was named Best Chef in the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2005, and went on to open Sofra Bakery and Café. She also co-owns Sarma in Somerville and is the author of two cookbooks—Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean and Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery (with Maura Kilpatrick). Ana is known for bringing Middle Eastern flavors into the mainstream through her passion of Turkish cooking, Spices and her husband’s (Chris Kurth of Siena Farms) fresh, organic vegetables. A 2015, 2016, and 2017 James beard “Outstanding Chef” semi finalist, among her many accomplishments, solidifies her as a leading chef.
Advanced Sommelier Theresa Paopao hails from the small town of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. She left paradise to pursue a graduate degree at the Yale School of Drama, then moved to Boston where she fell in love with the restaurant business and the world of wine. Paopao originally joined the team at Oleana as a manager in 2004, eventually earning the position of wine director. After six years at Oleana, Paopao moved to New York City to join David Chang’s Momofuku as the head wine director; she later opened MomofukuToronto, serving as beverage director. Paopao returned to Boston in 2013, opening the now-shuttered Ribelle with fellow Momofoku alumni, chef Tim Maslow. In 2016, Paopao joined the team at Asta in Boston, and in the summer of 2018, she reclaimed her title of Wine Director at Oleana. Since 2011, Paopao has been honored to serve as a judge for Decanter Magazine’s annual World Wine Awards held in London.
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